The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, ideological mentor to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has come out strongly in support of the ‘ghar wapsi’ (“homecoming” or re-conversion) programme.
This comes at a time when the government is facing censure in Parliament over the conversion and ‘re-conversion’ of Christians and Muslims by Hindutva outfits.
RSS’ Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh (national media head) Manmohan Vaidya has said that “homecoming” is different from “conversion”, and the former needs to be recognised as legitimate. “Among those who have got converted en masse due to different reasons, there is an urge to reconnect with their roots,” he told HT.
But how many Indian Muslims and Christians are converts from Hinduism? “Ninety-nine percent are converts,” said Vaidya. He, however, hastened to add that this did not mean that they all be re-converted. Only those who felt the urge to return should be, he added.
Parliament was rocked by the conversion issue, especially since saffron outfits have planned to hold more programmes in Aligarh, Rae Bareli and other places on Christmas. Many have felt this could dent the BJP’s development-centric pitch in the run-up to the general elections. However, Vaidya said that there is a difference between development and ‘re-conversion’.
He said that anti-conversion laws had been enacted in MP and Odisha in the 1960s, when the Congress was in power in both states and at the Centre. “Some years back, the Virbhadra Singh government in Himachal Pradesh had also gone in for such a law. Why did that happen, if what is happening now is wrong?” Vaidya asked. “These laws are required to stop conversion through force, fraud and allurement. The Church and missionaries have opposed these laws in all states.”